From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The conviction and sentencing to death of disgraced Police Sergeant, Timadi Emmanuel would serve as deterrent to Police brutality says the prosecutor, Ms Ebiere Emmanuela Ekpese.
Emmanuel had in 2019 during a Police raid along Tenacious road Yenagoa killed 19-year-old, Tarila Nikade, an undergraduate of the Niger Delta University (NDU), Wilberforce Island, Amassoma , Bayelsa State
He was subsequently arrested, dismissed from the Police Force after an orderly room trial and arraigned before Justice Maltida Ayemieye.
Ayemieye had recently in her judgment agreed with the prosecution that Emmanuel killed Nikade in cold blood and sentenced him to death by hanging.
Ekpese who is also the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Sagbama branch and the prosecutor of the case from inception to conclusion in an interview said the conviction would help to rein in Police brutality.
“It was victory for everyone because not too long ago, there was the EndSARS protest against police brutality. For me this case is like a deterrence to other Police officers that takes laws into their hands. That you are a Policeman does not give you right to fire and shot. For God sake the deceased was not even found with anything. It is form of victory, even though I don’t like to use that word, for the Ministry of Justice and NBA Sagbama because this is one thing we are also fighting as a branch through our Human Rights Committee. We are strongly against some of these things. Aside this matter that I prosecuted, I am aware of one or two cases of Police brutality, the branch is handling. But this case (State V Timadi) was not one of them”
Making further clarifications on the prosecution, she disclosed that five witnesses were called including a medical doctor that examined the deceased, conducted the autopsy to determine the cause of death and an eye-witness account, who is a friend to the deceased and was the scene when the incident happened.
Ekpese also touched on the issue of the application of fiat by some persons that wanted to prosecute the case, stressing that application of fiat does not mean its approval is automatic as it is at the discretion of the State Attorney- General, who by the provisions of the constitution is empower to take over any case.
She advocated for witness protection in Nigeria like what is obtained abroad to ensure witnesses are not vulnerable to threats and pave way for successful prosecution of capital offences.